New York State of Mind Amoeblog #95: Hip-Hop Celebrated, DJ Dwells Interview, West Indian American Day Carnival

Posted by Billyjam, August 27, 2014 03:00pm | Post a Comment



What a great week it has been for hip-hop in New York City! On top of the big 2014 DMC US Finals at Webster Hall in the East Village on Saturday (reviewed on Amoeblog here) and the following day's nearby Battle Ave DJ battle at Turntable Lab, there were clubs and concerts galore, an amazing True School Park Jam yesterday, the Harlem Hip-Hop Festival - part of Harlem Week - over the weekend, and first annual International Hip Hop Parade on Saturday. The parade took place in none other than the "Boogie Down" Bronx, the borough where hip-hop was born 41 years ago, with many legendary figures in attendance including the three grand marshals of the parade Melle Mel, Grand Wizzard Theodore, and Kool DJ Red Alert (who afterwards called the parade "a great event to recognize this unstoppable culture that was born in the Bronx."). The organizers of the parade, which took place along Bathgate Avenue to a positive response from onlookers, say that they plan to travel to a new location each year for the event, noting that their mission statement is one of, "showing the positive side of Hip Hop music through technology, education, and expression."  More info.  

Meanwhile yesterday's (Tuesday, August 26th) Tools of War presented True School NYC Park Jam. It was the last in the Diggers Delight series for the August weekly outdoor jams in Harlem's St Nicholas Park. The annual summer series that begins in June will move to The Bronx's Concrete Plant Park (on Bronx River between Westchester and Bruckner) for Thursdays in September. Yesterday's weather made for the perfect setting for Park Jam whose DJs included Chuck City and Rockin Rob doing killer true hip-hop music sets. Others in attendance included such legends as Lord Finesse, Jazzy Jay, Diamond D, and Popmaster Fabel.

Noticeably absent however was one element of the culture: no writing/aerosol art - something that is commonplace at California hip-hop events akin to the park jams in New York. I asked organizer Christie Z-Pabon if there had ever been live writing/aerosol art at her park jams. She said no with others informing me that, even all these years after the Giuliani era so-called Broken Windows zero tolerance campaign against graffiti, that the City of New York  is averse to allowing anything that might signal the return of that (publicly) dismissed art form. Coincidentally, right after leaving the park jam, I went online only to read an article on the Daily News website about how Queens Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder is currently on a campaign to outlaw Toys 'R' Us from selling the mock graffiti toy Kidffiti which he says "glorifies vandalism and should not be sold in New York City." Even the NYC Transit Museum and store in Grand Central blank out anything to do with the graffiti years.

Rebel Diaz and Immortal Technique are among the hip-hop artists who traveled down to Ferguson, Missouri last week in protest over the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. Tonight they, along with The ReMINDers from Colorado and others, will be doing a special benefit show - The Freedom Ride Fundraiser - in loving memory of Michael Brown that will be hosted by Flaco Navaja. Tonight (Wednesday, August 27th) at B.B. King Blues Club on 42nd Street. $12. More info

Starting tomorrow and running through the end of Labor Day weekend is the 47th annual West Indian Day Carnival in Crown Heights Brooklyn. The big parade is on Monday on Eastern Parkway with pre-parade events in the preceding days including tomorrow's (August 28th) Caribbean Woodstock: A Celebration of Light with Skinny Banton, Tarrus Riley, Problem Child, and many more. Get full event listings and information here.


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Amoeba Music New York City (3), New York (59), Nyc (85), New York State Of Mind (92), New York City (101), Ny State Of Mind Amoeblog (63), Park Jam (1), Dmc (55), Interviews (31), Dj Dwells (7), Christie Z-pabon (2)